Gina Baksa discusses the current state of the luxury yachting industry with SuperyachtsMonaco, the Principality’s leading yacht broker.
LM: How is the superyacht industry evolving to cater to the demands and expectations of modern-day ultra-high-net-worth consumers, in terms of style, design and technology?
JE: The superyacht industry reacts to keep pace with the demands of UHNWI in the same way that all luxury sector companies do. That is to say that there is a lot of cross-pollination between these sectors—for example, interior design trends crossover to the superyacht sector.
Designers, therefore, reflect current trends in their work, with subtle influences on superyacht design that come from the automotive and aircraft industries. Moreover, there is, of course, demand for more green and more economical solutions. The recent announcement about Bill Gates’ yacht order was mostly inaccurate, but the fact remains that he has indeed ordered a yacht and you can be confident that there will be smart energy solutions included in the design brief. Why? Simply because an individual with such a high profile could not afford to ignore these issues and nor would he want to.
LM: Has Brexit had any effect on the superyacht market?
JE: Yes, it has. As with the French property market, the British have been reluctant to invest until they know what economic impact Brexit is going to have on their disposable income. The result of the current trade deal talks in the middle of this year will provide the direction everyone wishes for. If the UK strikes a robust deal, then we would expect more confidence from UK clients. Our own prognosis is that it will be a relatively uninspiring deal that is agreed, but from there, and over time, the confidence will definitely return to the market.
LM: SuperYachtsMonaco prides itself on its personal approach to yacht brokerage. What makes your personal service stand out?
JE: It’s really very simple, yet extremely useful: our service is based on excellent knowledge of the market, honesty and integrity. We have fantastic access to information because people like us, believe us and are ready to share it with us. On a personal level, we are open and flexible for our clients, making sure we understand their needs and interests to create a tailored holiday for them. We understand that whilst there are vast sums of money involved, this is not a core business activity for them. They want to have fun in the process, and we are fun yet knowledgeable people, with more than 160 years of experience between us.
LM: In your earlier career, you worked for the company that manages Abramovich’s yachts. Must have been interesting… any stories?
JE: Haha! Nothing that could be regarded as scandalous nor anything that I could share, which would break confidentiality. I would, however, say that Roman Abramovich ought to be given some kind of award by the superyacht industry because his vision and willingness to invest in driving new design, new heights and new technologies around the turn of the millennium was something that started a new trend for creativity and a market that boomed as people saw the possibilities in it.
LM: What yacht construction are you project managing for clients currently?
JE: We cannot answer this due to confidentiality agreements I’m afraid. However, we are currently working on some exciting projects available for sale, for example, Stormbreaker. Powerful and muscular with razor-sharp lines, Stormbreaker is a trailblazing design from acclaimed Berlin-based yacht designer Theodoros Fotiadis, and she is ready to build at 90m or 115m, with the range, luxurious space and immense technical capability to ensure owners and guests an epic adventure, whether work or play.
Designed as a genuinely global explorer, a fabulous structural glass atrium at the heart of the yacht will flood her open-plan interiors with natural light, creating an atmospheric environment with panoramic vistas, where travellers feel at one with the elements.
Designed for people who enjoy going off the grid and experiencing something unique every time they are on board, Stormbreaker will push the boundaries of technological innovation with a fully integrated and interactive audiovisual experience by Icon Connect. With a Panoramic 360 imaging system to record and broadcast live footage, guests will never miss a whale breach or ice-fall. Additionally, the yacht will feature an interactive “YachtEye” infotainment system for real-time environment and voyage awareness, and “Best in Class” performance from CAT Audio.
LM: What makes Monaco the reigning yacht brokerage destination in the Med?
JE: We believe that it is a hub for holidaying UHNWI because they enjoy the Principality for its mixture of business and pleasure. It has such a glamourous history, and with the great hotels available, our clients enjoy Monaco as the starting point from which to depart on yacht cruise adventures around the Mediterranean.
LM: What do you love about living in Monaco?
JE: I love the fact that it is a serious place for us to conduct our business, yet it retains the feel of a small and friendly village. The atmosphere of any place starts at the top, and so we benefit from Prince Albert’s very reasonable approach to life and to business, as well as having a very human touch. There are not many places where you can see royalty down the pub!
LM: Which nationalities are the most prolific buyers of superyachts the most in 2019/20?
JE: In 2019*, the highest yacht-owning nation remained the United States with 22.7% of the market, followed by Russia with 10.6%, Greece 6.2%, the UK 5.9% and Italy 5.7%. The dynamics of the US and Russia as the two most prolific yacht owning nations is not new, and whilst the US indeed accounts for the most yachts, Russia is known for its propensity to own the larger yachts. Looking at new yachts in build, the US market is again the leader accounting for 17% of yachts in build and Russia 11 %.
*Based on industry statistics from SuperYacht Times, The State of Yachting Report 2019.
LM: What challenge is the superyacht industry facing in 2020?
JE: Well, the Coronavirus, as people will for a while be caught up in the hysteria of misinformation and be afraid to travel. We expect there will be quite a downturn in the market as a result of this health emergency, and it will be the biggest challenge of the year.
LM: Where do you see the superyacht market developing in the next five years?
JE: Difficult to say. If at any moment it became socially and politically acceptable in China to own a large yacht, then we could have some serious influx of new buyers to the market, but that is not yet the case. In the meantime, we see a return to the market of some Russian buyers, and with the relative inevitability of another four years of Trump, we expect the American market to remain healthy.
LM: What are your thoughts on e-powered yachts?
JE: They are not there yet but, as with electric cars, the development is in progress, and it becomes more and more a reality we will see soon.
LM: SuperYachtsMonaco has three must-have superyachts to beat the winter blues. Tell us more about Vegas, Mischief and Cloudbreak…
JE: The 37-metre Sunseeker Vegas is ideal for experiencing Australia in a new way. It’s the perfect yacht for private and corporate charters, to enjoy Sydney for a special event with family, friends or for business or cruise the Whitsundays, Great Barrier Reef or even New Zealand. Spacious and comfortable, Vegas’ elegant interior is paired with an expansive exterior split over three decks.
Packed with the very latest water toys, onboard highlights include a magnificent master suite with a private lounge, a large open-plan salon, plus a spa pool on the sundeck for total relaxation. Accommodation is for 12 guests in five cabins and space for up to 100 guests for events. She also has accommodation for her professional six-person crew, which includes a dedicated private chef for your voyage.
The 30-metre Mischief should be the yacht of choice for our clients that want to escape to idyllic Indonesia. An all-inclusive experience with a Michelin-trained and local chef, it offers the best of all worlds. Mischief will take her guests to discover hidden corners of the world in the Komodo Islands, Raja Ampat, Lombok, Sumbawa, Sumba, Moyo, Alor, Ambon & the Banda islands or Cenderawasih bay end and help them succumb to the gentle lap of luxury mischief offers.
Mischief can welcome six to eight guests in three to four cabins, including an upper deck master cabin with its own private aft-facing sundeck. There is diving for certified divers and toys including canoes and paddleboards.
For those lucky enough to find a gap in her schedule Cloudbreak is 75 metres of inspirational yachting, with an itinerary currently cruising the Andaman’s in April, the Maldives in early May and then the eastern Mediterranean this summer. Cloudbreak was designed for extreme exploration, built by luxury superyacht experts and is fully equipped for epic adventures in the most remote destinations on the planet.
Cloudbreak’s sophisticated interior was created by the Paris-based architect Christian Liaigre, and her toy box is jam-packed with the latest extreme sports equipment, an enormous onboard garage houses, two large tenders plus a full range of inflatables and water toys. Equipped with a helipad for all-access heli-skiing, when it comes to providing high-octane thrills, Cloudbreak knows no boundaries. Built to withstand even the harshest weather conditions, Cloudbreak is an open invitation to discover the world.
SuperYachtsMonaco – Where and How?
SuperYachtsMonaco is located at Le Monator, 25 Rue Grimaldi, 98000 Monaco. For more information, call +377 93 25 03 48 or visit www.superyachtsmonaco.com.